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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Two years after officer killed in anti-terror operation, wife joins Army

On Saturday, Nitika Kaul was among 198 cadets of OTA who were commissioned into the Army. The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, Lt Gen Y K Joshi, ‘pipped’ Lt Nitika by putting the badges of ranks on her shoulders at the passing out parade.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh |
Updated: May 30, 2021 11:18:41 am
Nitika kaul, Indian Army, Pulwama, Captain Nitika Kaul, Major Dhoundiyal, Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal's wife joins army, Jammu, Indian ExpressNitika Kaul after passing out from the Officers Training Academy in Chennai on Saturday. (Photo: ANI)

Two years after her husband, Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal, was killed in the line of duty while battling terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, Nitika Kaul was Saturday commissioned in the Army Ordnance Corps as a Lieutenant at the Officers Training Academy (OTA), Chennai.

In February 2019, barely 10 months after their marriage, Major Dhoundiyal was killed during an encounter with terrorists in Pulwama. Commissioned in the Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering, he was serving with 55 Rashtriya Rifles at the time of the encounter, and was posthumously decorated with the Shaurya Chakra for his act of courage.

At the time of her husband’s death, Kaul had been working with a multinational corporation in New Delhi.

Roughly six months after her husband’s death, she decided to join the OTA and applied for the 25th Short Service Commission Course (Technical). After clearing the interviews, she joined the academy in June 2020.

Major Dhoundiyal too had passed out from OTA, Chennai.

On Saturday, Kaul was among 198 cadets of OTA commissioned into the Army. The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, Lt Gen Y K Joshi, ‘pipped’ Lt Kaul by putting the badges of ranks on her shoulders at the passing out parade.

Speaking to the mediapersons after the passing-out parade, an emotional Lt Kaul said that she could sense the presence of her husband with her during her training period.

“I feel that I am travelling the same journey that he did. I believe he is always going to be part of my life. Even today, he’s somewhere around me looking at me and I can feel that he is just holding me and saying you just did it. I love you, Vibhu,” she said.

Talking about her training experience in the academy, Lt Kaul said she has learnt a lot during her training at the OTA.

“I want to thank everyone who had faith in me. My mother-in-law and my mother who have been part of my journey. I would just like to say that the way you have kept faith in me has made my journey easier,” she said.

The citation of the Shaurya Chakra awarded to Major Dhoundiyal states that on February 17, 2019, he was part of an operation launched to neutralise a group of terrorists in a Kashmir village.

“During search, officer was fired upon by a terrorist hiding in a cow shed resulting in multiple gunshot injuries to him. Despite being severely injured the officer maintained his tactical composure and retaliated terrorists’ fire,” it says.

The operation resulted in the killing of the foreign terrorist who was involved in the Pulwama terror attack. However, Major Dhoundiyal succumbed to his injuries.

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